Firearm Rights Endorsed through Education
DENVER - More than twenty young people met with state legislators at the capitol in Denver on January 10, 2000 to defend their Second Amendment right. As members of a new organization, Firearm Rights Endorsed through Education (FREE), they gathered with their parents and other interested adults to listen to guest speakers and share their own thoughts about proposed gun-control legislation.
FREE, a broad coalition which includes a Pro Second Amendment group from Grand Junction, the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, NRA members, and Libertarians, discussed the importance of the right to keep and bear arms. Carol Geltemeyer, currently the Campaigns Director for the Libertarian Party of El Paso County, helped coordinate a group of Libertarians from Colorado Springs who attended the event.
Although a few state legislators expressed concerns about Republican Governor Bill Owens' and Democrat Attorney General Ken Salazar's proposed gun-control package and said they would oppose it, the youth in attendance demonstrated an even better understanding of the issue.
Two of the youngsters from Colorado Springs, whose parents are active Libertarians, had some poignant observations. C. J. Hackett, age 10, unabashedly stated, "I think anyone who has training should be able to use a gun for protection at any age." In response to proposed legislation to raise the minimum age to purchase a handgun from 18 to 21, Sean Glidewell, a 13-year-old, explained, "I'm here because I want my rights intact by the time I reach 18 and I don't want them to keep creeping the age up."
Dan Honaker, a Lakewood High School student, said in his speech to the FREE members, "I really believe that firearms can be a beneficial part of young adult life... The responsibility and skills a child receives while learning to use a firearm are invaluable...We don't have to ask permission before we start a religion; why should we have to ask permission before we exercise any of our inalienable rights?"
Libertarians wholeheartedly agree with one of the young speakers who made the explicit point that the Second Amendment is about self-defense and Constitutional government, not hunting!
After listening to the speakers, Geltemeyer concluded, "These kids know more about the true meaning of the Second Amendment than most of our current legislators do. Is it any wonder that our Constitutional rights are constantly under attack?"